A not so secret secret has been afoot. Gameful is a “Secret Headquarters” for people playing and creating games to make us better and change the world. Its fundraising call on Kickstarter attracted 593 backers and raised $64,965 (well beyond its $2,000 goal). Since Jane McGonigal’s TED talk in February, anticipation for the idea has grown. In her talk she asks, given the 3 billion hours a week our world spends playing digital games, how can we tap into that incredible amount of engaged time to change our lives and perhaps save the world? The overwhelming number of emails Jane received after her talk spurred the creation (with co-founders Nathan Verrill, Matthew Jensen, and Kiyash Monsef) of Gameful. The website is a collaboration space to connect people who are passionate about world-changing games and are looking for collaborators for ideas, advice, playtesting, funding, mentorship and partnership. “Gameful means to have the spirit, or mindset, of a gamer: someone who is optimistic, curious, motivated, and always up for a tough challenge. It’s like the word “playful”—but gamier”, says Jane.
Since October 10th a backdoor entrance for Kickstarter backers has been open and 300+ members have begun building the community, helping with the loose ends before the public launch set for October 28th. Aside from the magnetism of the founders, part of the success (and the fun) in growing this headquarters is the Game of Gameful. From the start, its Kickstarter project profile seeded well-designed rewards for early backers (with titles like Mega Brain Meld, Hero’s 12-Pack, Awesome Circle, Secret Fiero Monster and Gameful Fairy). The site itself offers an achievement system that motivates people to increase the community’s potential. Two secret missions are already at play: a 500 piece puzzle for Kickstarter backers and a 1500 piece puzzle for friends of Kickstarter backers to connect with one another in the real world. Those without puzzle pieces need not dispair, all players get a virtual pet monster to make their stay more interesting. Completing additional challenges, participating and building the Gameful community helps players’ Fiero Monster level up adding a game layer to what would otherwise be a normal online community experience.
Tools like a Blog, Activity Feed, Member Profiles, Messaging System, Wiki, Classifieds, and Groups on the web portal support collaboration and translation into the real world. Fifty-eight Groups have already formed on a wide spectrum of endeavors from educational, wellness, and government, to experimental mechanics. The secret is fully unfolding and Games for Change is excited to be co-constructing and supporting this community.
The doors open to the public on today, October 28th, so if you’re Gameful, grow your Fiero at www.gameful.org